The Okavango Delta is a UNESCO world heritage site and home to one of the most important core lion populations in southern Africa. In 2013, 50% of the known lions were killed through poisoning and shooting in retaliation for devastating livestock losses. Following this, CLAWS Conservancy established a community engagement programme called ‘Pride in our Prides’ to mitigate this conflict and develop innovative approaches to promote co-existence between communities and lions. The first of these is the deployment of satellite collars programmed with geo-fences; pre-programmed lines of co-ordinates that send alerts when lions approach villages.
In the pilot phase 1000 alerts were sent to livestock owners reducing conflict by 50%. Lion killing has since dropped from over 20 in 2013 to less than 3 individuals per year with over 15 cubs since 2016. CLAWS Conservancy is now working, with the support of Tusk, towards wider adoption of the system across other portions of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area where lion conflict is a significant problem.
Image Credits: © CLAWS Conservancy